Could rugby sevens follow the NBL’s lead and become a Christmas bonanza?


As I reached my slumber after having turkey and ham and there may have been alcohol involved, I can’t remember, I flicked thought the channels at around 7:30pm.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Shrek were the only possible options.

Lo and behold, the NBL is on Kayo.

The crowd was there and parents and kids were in combined uniforms of supporting their teams and the spirit of Xmas.

On Boxing Day, as I re-assembled presents Santa’s elves had put together incorrectly, I was also reading about the success of the NBL on Christmas Day and how they had broken a barrier for Christmas Day sport in Australia.

I started to wonder, as rival codes exploit this last bastion of days in Australia and how much exposure any footy code could get.

Footy codes in the summer take a back seat, with the exception of the A-League, but it is even swamped with cricket.

NRL and AFL haven’t had much input, but attempted trials in January and February as a “trial competition” but neither took off.

However, rugby union has a very successful male and female format which is usually played around mid to late January: the Sydney 7s.

This is an extremely well-visited tournament over three days featuring spectacular colour and all walks of life.

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The Sydney community want to make a day of it and it has great attendances.

TV audiences are not huge, but it’s a fabulous affair that most in Sydney want to experience.

So, how could this work on December 25?

Greater minds than mine can work that out, but eight teams at 14 minutes per match for men and women would be gold.

Perhaps it’s state-based with some of the golden girls (who get no exposure), or the men’s team with a few Wallabies thrown in for good measure, to create exposure.

Channel Nine/Stan Sport, or perhaps Channel 10 and Paramount would throw something in. You could attract approximately six hours of content between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The venue would have to be reasonably sized, but North Sydney Oval in Sydney or Ballymore in Brisbane spring to mind.

Keep it local with a few “slingshot” players from other areas.

This is an opportunity, but how do you fund it?

Perhaps it could extend beyond Christmas and there are three tournaments, maybe with an Australia Day bonanza as well.

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